God gives us some great blessings when we can see things move full circle…and that we can see His hand in making it happen!
Rewind to November 2018. Tom Ballinger from Wisconsin delivered a load of wheelchairs he had collected to the Wayland Iowa Mission:Mobility warehouse. This was one of several deliveries he made in 2018. Tom is a good friend of many years, and a 3 time January Guatemala mission tripper. (Soon to be 4)
Then on December 11, 2018, a group of volunteers from the area helped inventory and load a 40 ft container that would be sent to Bethel Ministries in Guatemala. The load included around 165 wheelchairs, many crutches and walkers, medical supplies, and around 300 boxes of donated clothing, shoes and supplies.
As always we had more donations to send than the container had space. We had the entire container packed floor to ceiling on all 40ft. We locked it up and sent it on it’s way.
The (Iowa) route….
by truck to Chicago. 256 miles
By rail to New Orleans. 925 miles
By ship to Guatemala. 1367 miles
By truck to its destination in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. 343 miles
The process can take a month or more. Often times the headaches begin at customs in Guatemala. Occasionally they get a random “red light”. They are pulled aside and emptied to see if the inventory manifest is legit. Now, I always figured they maybe pulled out a few boxes and looked at the packing nightmare we created and then would close it up and call it good. More later….
January 24 arrives and Tom and I and his son-in-law Brian arrived in Guatemala for the winter men’s mission trip. As last year we planned to bless the Bethel crew with a meal where Tom and I would man the grill! We were looking forward to it and really planning on it!!
God had a different plan! The Iowa container unexpectedly arrived late the morning of Janurary 25! So, we and many of the Bethel crew went to the warehouse site to unload!
This container had gotten a random red light and was partially emptied. If not for that, it would have arrived a few days prior to our arrival! God wanted to provide us with a special bonus for the trip!
45 days of travel (and sitting in ports and customs) and approximately 2891 miles!
What a special day to spend with our brothers from Guatemala.
It was an extra special day for me. This was the 31st container that Mission: Mobility has shipped since our start! It was the first that I personally had loaded AND unloaded!
Nick Frey and his wife and son are living in Guatemala, working along side Bethel right now. Nick was there helping. As we were unloading, Nick said. “There is a very small fraternity in this world. I looked at him, puzzled. He continued. “It is a brotherhood of 2. Those who have loaded containers of wheelchairs in the states for Mission:Mobility and unloaded in Guatemala! You and I, brother!”
I think we can add a 3rd to the brotherhood. Tom delivered chairs that would be loaded on this container and helped unload as well. The 3 amigos!
Truly full circle. I feel totally BLESSED to have experienced this!
Loading the containers are always a joy to me. A JOY because I know that the chairs, equipment will bless so many. It is a beginning of a journey for the equipment . The journey began with someone in the states who needed the chair for their own needs. Then the chairs were collected by an awesome group of volunteers across the country with a heart for the Lord and helping our missionary friends in Guatemala.